US troops gather into Wardak province, eastern Afghanistan, in this Dec. 25, 2013. (Photo by AP)
The United States will deploy about 4,000 additional troops, including hundreds of Special Operations forces, to Afghanistan, according to a Trump administration official.
The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, the official said on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
American officials have said the US military needs a bigger role in Afghanistan to push the Taliban militant group back to the negotiating table. They have also called for authority to target Taliban leaders with airstrikes.
The proposal has yet to be approved by US President Donald Trump, but according to reports, Trump will signing off on the recommendation, which is the result of a broad review by the Pentagon, the State Department, intelligence community and other government agencies on the Afghan war.
    The US currently has around 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan with about another 5,000 troops from NATO allies.
    NATO countries are also asked to send up to 5,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan.
    The US-led occupying force officially announced to end its combat operations against the Taliban in the country at the end of 2014, and its current mission is to “train, advise, and assist” Afghan troops.
    But General Raymond Thomas, commander of the US Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month that the new Trump administration could permit more direct engagement between US forces and the Taliban.
    All wars come to an end
    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
    Mattis told a House Appropriations panel on Thursday he didn't foresee returning to the force levels of 2010-11, when then-President Barack Obama was trying to pressure the Taliban into peace talks.
    "Reconciliation" with the Taliban remains the goal, Mattis said."We're not looking at a purely military strategy," he said.
    "All wars come to an end. Our job is to end it as quickly as possible without losing the very mission that we've recognized, through several administrations, that was worth putting those young Americans on the line for,” he said.
    The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.
    Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as "Obama's war", but now his administration is sending thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift.
    American political analyst E. Michael Jones recently told Press TV that oligarchs have taken control of Trump “and basically putting him at the service of the foreign policy that the people who voted for him wanted him to reject.”

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